April 20, 2007
Toll road moratorium bill passes from Senate

Such as it is, anyway.

The Texas Senate voted unanimously Thursday for a two-year moratorium on private company toll roads -- although stopping those projects won't solve the state's bulging highway needs, a leading lawmaker warned.

The House already approved a similar measure in a nearly unanimous vote, reflecting considerable public angst over the possibility of transferring public assets to private companies.

A moratorium on private toll roads passing in both chambers means it's "more likely to stick," said Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, author of the Senate's moratorium and a former member of the Texas Transportation Commission.

"You have House clarity. You have Senate clarity," Nichols said. "There's an obvious will by this body to take the time to study private equity contracts before we lock up many (road) contracts of our transportation system that cannot be corrected until our children and grandchildren are past retirement."

Gov. Rick Perry, however, opposes the moratorium. Nichols conceded that if the chambers take too long to negotiate the differences between the measures, Perry could veto it without giving lawmakers a chance to override.

For that reason, Eye on Williamson is unimpressed. I'd guess that a veto is likely, an override not likely at all. I could be wrong, but I think it's too late in the game for this to make it through the process and get to Governor Perry's desk with enough time left to try an override. SA Toll Party has more.

It should be noted that one aspect of this particular piece of sausagemaking was giving HCTRA more free rein to push its projects. See this CTC forum thread for more.

Finally, in the "Timing Is Everything" department, a documentary called Truth Be Tolled, about the Trans Texas Corridor, will be screened on Saturday Sunday at 5 PM at the Worldfest Houston film festival. More details are here.

UPDATE: Fixed the date of the movie screening. Thanks, Greg!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 20, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

That's Sunday, not Saturday for the flick.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on April 20, 2007 3:02 PM